Despite his young age, Rashid Al Dhaheri’s racing exploits have seen him rapidly rise through the ranks of the karting scene in the UAE and Italy. In a further career development, he has taken part in his first race in China where he powered to a clean-sweep of victories.
The Abu Dhabi schoolboy made his debut in the China ASEAN ROK Cup at the Nanning International Karting track, where he lined up with other drivers in the 60cc Mini Class. The event consisted two back-to-back days of qualifying and racing.
Al Dhaheri qualified fastest to take pole position by three-tenths of a second over his nearest rival. In both heats, he controlled the pace and emerged as the comfortable winner in the final to score his first victory on Chinese soil.
The next day, Al Dhaheri took pole again, this time by three-quarters of a second. The Emirati youngster, who mustered all his experience of racing in the wet in Italy, to deliver an impressive performance, winning by a minute and almost lapping the entire field despite the challenging and tricky conditions.
His victory on the second day underlined a fine performance where he was unbeaten in the Mini Class throughout the weekend.
The youngster said: “It was great, I enjoyed the fans here, I never signed so many autographs. People are friendly and it is always a good feeling to win on a new track in a new championship.”
Long time coach and ex-Formula 2 champion, Italian Fausto Ippoliti, added: “It was a great experience for Rashid, his first race in the ROK ASEAN ROK Cup competition where the track, the conditions, the atmosphere and even certain rules were all new to him.”
“I was very impressed with Rashid’s capacity to rapidly adapt to this new environment, new track and setting up the kart to get the pole position very effectively. This shows how he has evolved with experience and drives with a maturity that belies his age.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla completed a clean sweep of the Freestyle category honours at the opening round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship by winning Sunday’s Moto 2 heat in Gallipoli, Turkey, to add to the Moto 1 success he achieved on Saturday.
Russia’s Alexander Kuramshin was the first rider on the water but, after completing a short series of barrel-rolls, his boat suffered technical issues and he returned to the beach by the sea wall in front of the judges.
Portugal’s Paulo Nunes followed the Russian on to the water and opened with some back 360s, barrel-rolls and spins and continued with a combination of back flips and finished with a one-handed back flip.
The ever-improving Italian Alberto Camerlengo delivered a varied performance and finished with one-and-a-half back flips before crashing into the water to end his three-minute stint.
World number one Roberto Mariani followed his fellow Italian on to the water with a range of flips, spins and rolls before losing his boat near the end of his stint and closing out with his traditional ‘fountain’. This paved the way for Al Mulla to round off the Freestyle action.
The 31-year-old Emirati delivered a spectacular opening sequence of barrel-rolls, back flips, reverses and spins to delight the large crowd that had lined the pier. He continued to impress through the stint to confirm the victory in Moto 2 and finished off with a series of high back flips.
Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair maintained an impressive pace throughout a processional second round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup on Monte Carlo’s famous street circuit on Sunday.
The Lechner Racing Team Middle East driver had qualified 12th for the 16-lap race and, with overtaking difficult on the narrow course, the race became processional for long periods.
The Omani managed to climb one place to finish 11th and claim five valuable championship points to add to the three he secured in Barcelona.
Pole winner Nick Yelloly was able to fend off series leader and defending champion Michael Ammermuller to claim the win and Dylan Pereira managed to pass Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani early in the race to snatch third place. Dutchman Jaap van Lagen finished fourth.
Al Zubair said: “Qualifying had been a little disappointing but I am pleased with the 12th place in the race. We were faster than the guys in front and always catching them and staying ahead of the guys behind.
“But this is Monaco and the track is only wide enough for one car. Unless there is an accident or a mistake from another driver, it is almost impossible to overtake.
“I tried to go for it but it’s too difficult and you risk crashing out. We are aiming for the points in the championship. We actually got P11 because the driver two places in front of us made a jump-start. Always we were on the pace today but qualifying determines the race here.”
Yelloly managed to fend off Ammermuller and Pereira through the opening corners, although Mark Ratcliffe was handed a stop and go penalty. Al Zubair started 12th and maintained that through the first four laps. Magnus Oehman then forced a brief yellow flag when he missed his braking point.
There were no changes among the front-runners through six laps as the procession continued and Al Zubair reached the halfway point in 12th. But Ammermuller began to put even more pressure on the leading Yelloly and Pereira closed in on the leading duo. A yellow flag was raised when Tom Sharp collided with the guardrails by the casino, retired and his car was removed from the circuit.
Racing resumed and Ammermuller continued to nibble at Yelloly’s coat tails in a bid to snatch the lead. With four laps to run, the top 10 remained unchanged and Al Zubair stayed in 12th although Yelloly escaped a minor scrape with the rail at the swimming pool chicane.
The yellow flag was raised again to remove some debris off the track under the tunnel but Yelloly maintained his lead over Ammermuller and Pereira heading into the last two laps.
There were no late surprises and Yelloly claimed the chequered flag from Ammermuller, Pereira and Van Lagen. Al Zubair crossed the finish line 12th and was elevated to 11th when a rival was penalised for a jump-start.
Racing in the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup resumes at the Red Bull ring in Austria from June 30-July 1, but Al Zubair will visit the same circuit on from June 8-10 to take part in the second round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.